Detailed information on all courses in the German curriculum can be accessed at the
following Internet addresses:
For a list of courses being offered for the current semester, please visit
the following catalog
More detailed information on the fundamental language sequence and on new course
offerings follows, and will be updated further as we continue curricular revision.
The Elementary Language Sequence
GERMAN 101 BEGINNING GERMAN I: Language
An introduction to German with the goal of competence in basic speaking and reading
skills, and of familiarity with the cultures of German speaking countries. With emphasis
on comprehension, this course presents basic vocabulary and structures in an interactive
student-centered context. Reading and writing strategies receive increased attention as
the course progresses. Video and multimedia software are integrated in class activities
corresponding to topics such as German etiquette, travel to Austria, and German holidays.
The course utilizes German Web sites as a link to Germany on the Internet.
GERMAN 102 BEGINNING GERMAN II: Language and Culture
The second-half of the Beginning Level sequence continues the activities
and goals of 101, with an emphasis on vocabulary building, grammatical features and
student interaction. Speaking activities involve both dialogue and narrative modes. With
authentic cultural insight, German Web sites augment the course topics which include
European travel, German city life and student life at the university. In the final weeks
of the course students compose and then videotape their own television commercials. The
best of these are shown at the Language Program's annual Märchenstunde in the Spring.
GERMAN 103 INTERMEDIATE GERMAN: Germany Today
While German 103 builds upon key structures and conversational situations
from German 101-102, this course spends more time developing greater reading proficiency
and expanding active vocabulary. Like the other courses in the four-semester sequence,
instruction here is in German and involves student interaction. German Internet sites now
serve as a resource for student projects on German contemporary culture. The wide range of
readings - from postcards to newspaper articles and short stories - on matters of daily
life familiarize students with the distinct regions of Germany, their histories and their
GERMAN 104 INTERMEDIATE GERMAN: From Fairytales to
The four-semester sequence which serves as the minimum preparation for study abroad
concludes with German 104. Emphasis on advanced reading proficiency includes discussion of
topics in contemporary German culture. Guidance in clarity of written and oral expression
culminates with a series of Grimm's fairytales which are read, reworked in student groups
and finally staged by students at the annual Märchenstunde.
GERMAN 110: Managing German Conversation
Students at the Intermediate Level (103 or 104) may enroll in this course,
which focuses on listening comprehension and speaking. Class time is devoted largely to
developing conversational strategies. In small groups students design many of the
activities and take frequent surveys among themselves comparing opinions, values,
expectations and even complaints. Additionally, students view German news broadcasts
throughout the semester and present news summaries to the class. Other sources of
listening comprehension are (legally) recorded telephone conversations, movies (with high
entertainment value) and interviews with well-known German public figures. This course is
highly recommended for students intending to study abroad.
New Course Offerings in the Department
GERMAN 216: Business German
The course is organized
around major German business and economics topics and will be conducted in
German. A wide variety of engaging task-based activities are used as points of
departure for classroom discussions concerning German business practices and
problems. One goal is the development of oral and written skills including
phone conversations, interviews, vitae and the proper style of German business
correspondence in the context of the following topics: the German economy,
German business culture, the European Union and the Euro, the German social
structure, tourism and advertising, marketing strategies, imports and exports,
taxation and social security, business and industry in the old and new states,
the German consumer, banking.
GERMAN 270: The German Film (Spring 2002, Dr.
"The German Film" course is offered to both undergraduate and graduate students who are
interested in German film and culture. This course focuses one four areas of German film history: the
Weimar Film, early sound films, Nazism, and the new German cinema. Films such as Murnau's
Nosferatu, Sternberg's The Blue Angel, Riefenstahl's The Triumph of the
Will, and Wender's Wrong Move make up just a few of the films that will be discussed. All films are shown in German with
English subtitles. The course is taught in English.
GERMAN 271/WOMEN'S STUDIES 271: Women at the
Margins: German Jewish Writers
GERMAN 294: Myth, Music, Modernity: Richard Wagner
GERMAN, FRENCH, ENGLISH & COMPARATIVE LITERATURE
311: Greece and European Romanticism: The Figure of Greece in European
GERMAN, ENGLISH, & COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 340:
Beyond Good and Evil
A combination of intellectual, political, and economic pressures since the
eighteenth century caused a crisis in modern consciousness, ultimately forcing
a reevaluation of traditional concepts of good and evil. The rise of modern
science, which led to breakthroughs in mathematics (Henri Poincaré), Physics
(Einstein), and the incumbent industrial revolution transformed traditional
conceptions and society. Long-standing "truths" were rethought, millions of
people were uprooted and crowded into great cities of anonymity , their ties to
long-standing values severed. Complex interactions triumphed over simplified
binary oppositions. The estrangement from secure havens of physical and
psychological existence found radical expression in Nietzsche's sweeping
revision of moral philosophy (Beyond Good and Evil, Thus Spoke Zarathustra).
Two world wars and the Holocaust accentuated human alienation and isolation.
The search for a new psychological and moral "home" in an emergent universe
became an urgent undertaking. This course will examine critical facets of that
transnational upheaval from the French Revolution to the Holocaust with its
growing sense of disorientation and dissolution. Beginning with the first signs
of the crisis of modern consciousness in the eighteenth century (Goethe's
Faust), we will follow that crisis through the nineteenth century (e.g.,
Kleist's "Marquise von O") and into the twentieth (e.g., Hesse's Steppenwolf,
Kafka's "In the Penal Colony," and Grass's The Tin Drum). Thus, pre-Nietzschean
as well as post-Nietzschean assessments of the need to create values in an ever
changeful universe will be our focus. This course is designed as a discussion
course with introductory and some interspersed lectures. The class will be
conducted in English.
GERMAN 316/COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 355: Introduction to
Literary and Cultural Theory and Criticism
"Introduction to Literary and Cultural
Theory and Criticism" is a graduate seminar intended to introduce students pursuing
the M.A. or Ph.D. in the humanities to the history and relevance of Continental and
Anglo-Saxon traditions of aesthetic and cultural critique. We will focus on debates
between the (largely German) tradition of hermeneutics and the (largely French) challenge
to that tradition in the form of poststructuralism, but we will address other significant
and often independent movements such as psychoanalysis, formalism, new historicism, film
criticism, and feminism. While we will emphasize debates central to humanistic
critique in Europe, we will also examine American responses to and reformulation of these
debates on questions crucial to the study of literature and culture. For example:
what is the nature of the relationship between representation and meaning? What type
of a representative mode is literature, and how does it differ from other forms of
representation? Relationships between literary criticism and historiography will be
investigated as well.
In the final portion of the course, we will turn our attention to the
question of why we do literary and cultural criticism. How can we justify the
mission of the humanities in general and of literary studies in particular in the
university today, at a time of rapid expansion in the natural sciences? We are not
training most of our students for the professoriate, so what are our goals for them (and
also for students at institutions of higher education that do not resemble Vanderbilt),
and how can we continue to legitimate those goals? In other words, is there a
connection between the aesthetic and political theories and practices explicated in many
of these texts and what we do every day? Should there be?
Readings and discussion will be conducted in English.